A Book for the People
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him, Isaiah 53:2.
We see in Isaiah 53:2 a prophecy of Jesus Christ. Regardless of his value as the long awaited Messiah, and despite his deity, he was not recognized by the scholars. We are reminded of Lord's admonition to Samuel upon showing him the lad David who was to be king. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart, 1st Samuel 16:7.
When the scholars did examine Jesus Christ, they got it all wrong.
John 7:43 So there was a division among the people because of him.
John 7:44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
John 7:45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
John 7:46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
John 7:47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
John 7:48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
John 7:49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
The officers who refused to arrest Jesus Christ judged him by his manner of speaking and the words themselves. The Pharisees who made up a large portion of the scholars of that day judged him by their scholarly precepts. They stared their creator in the face. They heard his words. They saw his miracles and yet derided the "little" people as ignorant. If they could have they would have completely redesigned him. The words and the works of Jesus Christ were found wanting in the eyes of the scholars, but wrought life in the common people.
Why should we expect the reception of his words to be different? In what generation have the scholars been correct? Even in 1611, the King James Bible was roundly criticized by the academic community upon its release. Bible historian Gordon Campbell in his book Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011, recounts the hostile reception that established Puritans and other scholars gave it.
The great exception to that criticism was 17th century historian and clergyman Thomas Fuller. Forty five years after its publication, he based his positive reception of the King James Bible by its effect upon the people. He praised the assembled translators who he said, "rolled away the stone from the mouth of the well of life, so that now even Rachels, weak women, may freely come, both to drink themselves and to water their families at the same".
How different the King James Bible looks to a congregation of simple people redeemed from sin than it looks to some high brow scholar! He judges by such whims as he has cultivated as he learns less than 10% of the linguistic skills of the King James translators. Our congregations judge by the great work of God in their lives, by the liberty wrought in their beings, and by their joy at learning.
In the many books that I have read about the Wright Brothers and their invention of the airplane, I came across an account of their first demonstration in France. The top French glider pilot of his day and a man earnestly endeavoring to make a flying machine looked at their craft. As the Wright Brothers prepped it for flight, he explained to the assembled multitude why the whole proceeding was a sham. He broke down what he saw in their craft and piece by piece explained as an expert why such a machine could never fly.
He held the peoples' attention until the airplane lifted off from the ground and flew over their heads. Our churches are full of people who have had the experts explain just how bad our King James Bible really is. Then they heard it preached by a man who trusted it and believed it. Like the crowd in France, they turn their backs on the know it all, and shout huzzahs and wave their hats at the miracle before them.
The great joke of the modern versions is that the more educated a person is, the higher the likelihood that they use a new version, and yet they invoke the ignorance of the "little" people as their excuse for dumbing down their versions. It is the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, and all those who judge by the words themselves who trust that book. Meanwhile, the scholars keep rewriting the bible hoping to get it right.